Friday 17 February 2017

Michelin Le Mans Cup: Launch in Portimão & second race at Le Mans

The Michelin Le Mans Cup will be launched at Portimão with a collective test session on April 22 and 23. 
© 2016 Gabi Tomescu /
All competitors in LMP3 and GT3 will be on track together for the first time in 2017 in preparation for the season opener at Monza on May 14th. This test will also give the teams a chance to discover the Portimão track on which the final race of the Michelin Le Mans Cup and the European Le Mans Series will be held in October.

The ELMS teams are also invited to take part in this collective test, one weekend after the opening round at Silverstone. With seven hours of practice available each day, this might help the teams in preparation for their second race in Monza and for those teams invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

© 2016 Gabi Tomescu /
After the success of the first Road to Le Mans race in 2016, the ACO announced the return of the Le Mans Cup and the addition of a second race as a curtain-raiser to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Two races will be reserved exclusively for LMP3 and GT3 cars, with an increased number of entries to 46 cars. 

The teams racing the full Michelin Le Mans Cup will be automatically accepted for the event at Le Mans. In the selection of the other participants, the selection committee will give priority to teams entered for the European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Spring Cup and the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. 

Last year, the Road to Le Mans race was held on Saturday morning, ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year an additional race will be held on Thursday afternoon. The 2017 schedule will be as followed:
- Wednesday 14th June: Two one-hour practice sessions; 
- Thursday 15th June: Two 20-minute qualifying sessions + race 55 minutes (17h30);
- Saturday 17th June: Race 55 minutes (11h30).

2 drivers will be eligible to race, with a minimum driving time of 20 minutes in the race per driver and a pit stop lasting minimum one minute within a defined time window. To comply with the regulations of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, one gold driver is accepted in the driver line-up. The second driver has to be a bronze driver. 

The entries for the Michelin Le Mans Cup will close on March 7th.  Entries for the Road to Le Mans open on March 10th and close on April 6th. 

Kristof Vermeulen.